Somerset girls put on great road showAs a sixth seed, the Somerset girls basketball team was the lowest seeded Division 2 girls team in the state to reach the regional championships.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
As a sixth seed, the Somerset girls basketball team was the lowest seeded Division 2 girls team in the state to reach the regional championships.
They did so by putting together two outstanding performances against higher ranked teams, following long road trips.
The Spartans made the three-hour trip to Ashland last Tuesday, then used their quickness to thoroughly outplay the Oredockers. Somerset scored a 64-50 win over the third-seeded Oredockers.
That win meant the Spartans would have to make the trip to Hayward for the second round of the WIAA playoffs. The game was bumped to Friday because of last Thursday’s snowstorm, but that didn’t seem to bother the Spartans. They stunned Hayward in the first half, building up a 33-11 halftime lead. Hayward made a wild comeback in the second half, but Somerset held on for a 56-52 win over the second seed.
Beating Hayward meant another road trip for the Spartans. This one came with little recovery time. The Spartans had to play on Saturday afternoon in the regional championship game at Unity against Middle Border Conference champion Amery. The Spartans weren’t able to pull off a third upset. Amery jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game. The Spartans never recovered fully, losing 66-43.
After putting on such emotional, energetic efforts against Ashland and Hayward, the Spartans hoped they could do the same against Amery. But when Powers saw the girls at a 9 a.m. team breakfast on Saturday, he had a hunch the hectic week had taken its toll on the girls.
“You could see it, they just weren’t as perky,” he said.
After the 9-0 start, Amery built the lead to 13-3 with two minutes left in the first quarter. The Spartans could never get the lead down to single figures again. They made a charge midway through the second quarter, to get within 28-17. But Amery answered, building the lead to 34-19 by halftime.
Amery knows the Spartans about as well as any team, and the Warriors took away Somerset’s most productive forms of scoring.
Kellie Ring led the Spartans with 15 points in the finale and Ashley Martell scored 10 points.
Ringing them up
The wins over Hayward and Ashland showed the Spartans at their best. The Spartans were able to use their speed to create an endless string of scoring chances.
Hayward came into Thursday’s game with an 18-3 record. That didn’t stop the Spartans from running away with the game in the first half. Ring scored 17 points in the half as the Spartans rolled up their 33-11 lead.
“We knew they’d come back,” Powers said. The Hurricanes did come back, getting as close as 52-50. Somerset hit 11 of 18 free throws in the fourth quarter to withstand Hayward’s frenetic comeback attempt.
Ring finished with 26 points and Martell scored 16 points. The Spartans rebounded well against a tall Hayward team, with Karli Solum getting seven rebounds and Amy Wells and Ellie Vanasse each getting six rebounds.
In Tuesday’s game Ashland tried to play a man-to-man defense against the Spartans. That clearly didn’t work. The Spartans were able to dribble-drive to the basket all night. That enabled the Spartans to make 66 percent of their two-point shot attempts. Ring led that effort, going 11-15 from the floor to finish with 24 points.
Martell scored 14 points against Ashland and Solum scored 11 points.
That’s a wrap
The Spartans loss to Amery left them with a 13-10 final record. The Spartans can claim one of the tougher schedules in Division 2 in the state. Eight of their 10 losses came against teams that have advanced to this week’s sectional tournaments (Amery, Durand, Barron, Prescott and Colfax). The only losses that weren’t to sectional qualifers both came against Osceola.
The Spartans graduate a trio of seniors, Ring, Amy Wells and Megan Flandrick.
Ring graduates as the leading scorer in Somerset history. She passed Ann Schachtner and Sarah Wishard in recent games, finishing with 1,202 points for her career. Ring scored more than 400 points this season, averaging more than 18 points per game.